I am Jessica, the Co-Founder and General Partner at Work-Bench, where I focus on investments in the future of work and teams. I am passionate about growing and supporting women in enterprise tech, launching our Navigate Women in Enterprise Tech Summit and our Founders of Enterprise Startups (Who Are Women) Database.Prior to Work-Bench, I was a Learning and Development Manager at Cisco Systems, where I worked with the Engineering organization on Agile transformation, innovation and culture. I am actively involved with the education and workforce development community in New York City, as a longtime GED educator and previously as an advisor to LaGuardia Community College. I received a B.A. from Harvard University in Government and African Studies.
Today, I will be answering your questions around fundraising in the current climate, how to adjust your B2B sales strategy, virtually pitching a VC, term sheet negotiations, planning for downside scenarios and recovery and more. Jump in!
Hi everyone - hope you and yours are all staying safe during this time. Know for everyone - whether you're investor, founder, or operator - that we are all trying our best to navigate these times with our teams. Happy to share any thoughts or feedback.
Hi Jessica, would love to know your thoughts on how SAAS and developer tooling B2B sales strategies should change in this climate?
What are investors to founders needing to raise within the next 60-90 days and what's your advice?
Hi Jessica, thanks for doing this!
When you say the bar will be higher in these times for fundraising, what should startups that have built relationships with investors and are keen to go full steam ahead be doing to differentiate themselves and raise their fundraising game in terms of prep, process, engagement etc.?
Hi Jessica, thanks so much for making yourself available. Do you have any advice for B2B sales in this environment where we are selling a product that helps enterprises work with their small suppliers better (we provide a simplified procure to pay software for managing long-tail suppliers that saves buyers time/money and also offer the suppliers on the other side faster payment on their invoices), and getting the tone of those sales pitches right given the ongoing crises?
We were about to launch our pre-seed round and had been in early convos with angels/early-stage VCs - our business is in women's health tech/digital community space and so in this current climate our product would do really well so we're focussing on pushing out our beta program asap as a result (before this, we were waiting to launch it post fundraise).
We're in two minds about whether to keep pushing on with the raise or wait and focus on getting that traction, (if we wait however we can't employ our team properly which may slow our progress/ability to onboard lots of users).
Would love your thoughts on what you would prefer to see as an investor, should we keep up the convos and try push a few to close or take a step back and let them know we're focussing on traction?
For any folks interested - here's one more great post by Semil Shah on how many VCs are thinking about the world:
Would love your thoughts on best practices for virtual pitching and how founders might want to switch it up as opposed to live pitches.
What questions should founders raising in this climate ask funds and investors to make sure they are partnering with people who are prepared to support them through tough times?
Thanks for sharing today and for creating the women enterprise founders db - super useful. This is pretty specific... Do you have any businesses in your portfolio who either offer a product around supply chain management, or have you gotten feedback from any of your companies navigating changing supply chains? I'm curious which tools are useful and what kind of dashboards or other operational monitoring tools people are finding useful. Thanks!
From a B2B sales perspective how would you go about it now?
Would you recommend starting a journey for investment now or rather hold until later?
Hi Jessica. What is your view on the B2G market and how it will be impacted?
Hi Jess, I recently took on an interim sales exec role managing a team that sells sr developer talent on a contractual basis (white-glove service) + a self-service offering coming soon (saas). Exciting! We've been pretty successful but definitely are starting to feel the pains of companies reducing/pausing spend on dev contracting. Curious to hear your thoughts on creative ways to make the most of COVID-19 and drive new sales/retain/grow in current and new accounts.